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Russian Programmer “Ressurects” Deceased Best Friend as an AI Chatbot

It’s hard to let go of loved ones, especially when they pass away suddenly. But thanks to rapidly evolving artificial intelligence, you soon may not have to let go. Well, not completely, anyway. Case in point, Eugenia Kuyda, the co-founder and CEO of a Russian artificial intelligence startup called Luka Inc, who recently brought her best friend back to life as an AI chatbot.

Kuyda lost her best friend, fellow tech entrepreneur Roman Mazurenko, in November 2015, but just three months after his tragic car accident, she sent the first text message to his AI personality, Roman. With no grave to visit, because he had been cremated, the young programmer, decided to use every digital memory of him, including photos, news articles and thousands of SMS text messages he had sent to her over the years, and feed them into a neural network to create an AI chatbot that many of those who knew Roman say sounds just like him.

“It was the first death for me. I didn’t know how to react, so as soon as I could I shoved everything as deep inside as possible and tried not to feel anything. Half a year later I can say that it doesn’t go away. In the last couple of months our team at Luka managed to build a dialogue model using smaller datasets on top of a neural net. I put together all texts we sent each other, photos, articles about him and we built a Roman AI,” Kuyda wrote in a Facebook post. “You can text with him about his life or just chat like you normally would – he will reply like Roman would have.”

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This Device Lets You wake Up Inside Your Dreams

Lucid Dreamer is an ingenious device programmed to detect REM sleep, the time when people dream more vividly, and emit low electrical impulses to help you realize that you are dreaming, allowing you to take control of your dreams and go on lucid adventures.

Lucid dreams are dreams in which you realize that you are dreaming, but while 20% of the population experience lucid dreams every month, these are usually happen accidentally. However, recent research has shown that a specific brain activity, known as “gamma activity” is associated with lucid dreaming, and that gama activity can be enhanced with the use of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS), a form of mild electrical stimulation of the brain. During a study in which tACS was used to enhance gamma activity during REM sleep, lucidity was achieved in 77% of dreams.

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Turkish Company Creates Real-Life Car-Morphing Transformers

Thirty-some years after making their debut as cartoon characters, vehicle-morphing Transformers have finally become a reality, thanks to the efforts of a Turkish company out of Ankara.

The R&D-focused company, called Letvision, recently wowed the internet with a presentation video for their prototype car-transforming robot, ANTIMON. The recently-released footage shows a red BMW M3 being unveiled and remotely driven toward the camera, where it proceeds to transform into a mighty Autobot-like robot. The whole process takes a bit longer than in Michael Bay’s CGI movies, but it’s still mesmerizing to watch.

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App Gives Japanese Drivers Free Coffee for Not Checking Their Phones at The Wheel

In a bid to convince drivers in Aichi Prefecture to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, a new Japanese smartphone app offers free coffee coupons to drivers who don’t check their phones for at least 100 km.

For the last 13 years, Aichi Prefecture has recorded the highest rate of traffic fatalities in Japan. Last year, there were 443,691 accidents that resulted in injuries or deaths, and 50,101 arrests involving the use of smartphones while driving. With handhelds becoming such a big part of people’s lives, there appears to be an increase in violations of this nature, and authorities have yet to come up with an effective plan to combat the problem.

Interestingly, a trio of Japanese company seem to think that an ingenious new app could incentivize drivers to restrain themselves from checking their phones at the wheel and reduce the number of traffic accidents. Toyota Motor Corporation, Komeda Co Ltd and KDDI Corporation have teamed up to create Driving Barista, an app that uses the phone’s gyro sensor to sense the tilt of the device, and the GPS to determine the distance driven. This allows it to calculate the number of kilometers a driver has traveled with the smartphone facing down.

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Smart Box Combats Smartphone Addiction by Allowing You to Lock Away Your Phone for a Set Period of Time

Smartphone addiction is a growing problem that often interferes with our personal and professional lives. DistractaGone is an ingenious solution that allows you to lock up your phone in a box that only opens after a set period of time, offering you a period without constant distraction.

Trying to get some work done, enjoying dinner conversation or even watching a movie can be pretty tough with your phone serving up distractions in the form of various notifications, but even if you’re the kind of person who just can’t stop checking their handheld every few minutes, there is still hope. Introducing DistractaGone, a smart box that locks up to four phones at a time and keeps them inside for as long as you decide.

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Smart Strap Turns Your Hand into a Mobile Phone

Signl is an innovative gadget that allows users to take phone calls by simply touching their ear with their fingertip. It then transmits the sound through the body, essentially turning their hand into a phone.

Signl, formerly “TipTalk”, was developed by South Korean company Innomdle Lab, a new startup founded in 2015 by three ex-Samsung employees. It’s a smart strap that can be worn by itself, with a classic watch or any kind of smartwatch ((Apple, Samsung, Pebble, etc.). It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and thanks to a built-in “body conduction unit”, the strap sends sound through your body, allowing you to hear the caller just by touching your ear with a finger. A microphone of the strap lets you have a conversation just like you would on a mobile phone.

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This USB Stick Can Kill Your Computer Almost Instantly

The USB Killer is a commercially available USB stick that can fry almost any computer in seconds by rapidly collecting power from the USB power lines and then repeatedly discharging 240V into the host device until it dies. The whole process only takes a few seconds.

USB sticks have long been used infect unsuspecting users’ computers with all kinds of malware and spyware, but last year, a Russian hacker by the name of Dark Purple showed the entire world a new way USB drives can be used to effectively destroy virtually any PC or laptop equipped with a USB port. When it was first revealed, last year, the “USB Killer” was described as a proof of concept aimed at security researchers and folks who work on USB standards, to help them make devices immune to high voltage attacks. A few days ago, however, the USB Killer became a commercially available product that anyone can order online for just $56.

The USB Killer looks as harmless as any other pen drive, but it’s actually lethal for around 95% of consumer laptops and PCs. It is equipped with small capacitors that draw power from the USB power source to which it is connected, and when they are completely charged – it can take less than a second – the stick discharges over 200 volts of DC power to the host device multiple times per seconds until the machine is fried or the USB Killer is unplugged.

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Indian Engineering Student Builds Functional Ironman Suit

Vimal Govind Manikandan, an engineering student from Kerala, recently made international headlines after building a fully-functional exosuit inspired by Marvel superhero, Ironman.

People have been building their own Ironman suits for years, but while those are all just good-looking replicas, Vimal’s version actually works. The 100-kg-heavy suit doesn’t fly, or shoot energy beams like that of the actual Ironman, but it can move at a decent pace, perform basic actions and even lift up to 150 kg, thanks to battery-powered pressurized air chambers. And it only cost $750 to make.

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HB Rings Let You Feel Your Loved One’s Heartbeat in Real Time

Described as “the most sophisticated ring in the world”, the Touch HB Ring is a smart wedding band that lets you feel the rhythm of your partner’s heartbeat in real time.

Phone calls and apps like Facetime or Skype are great in long-distance relationships, but they can only do so much. The internet may connect the world like never before, but it still can’t offer an alternative to physical affection. Or can it? Wearable-tech company Touch has recently unveiled a revolutionary set of rings that rely on advanced technology to make wearers feel closer to each other even when they are hundreds or thousands of miles away.

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This $3,000 Wireless Speaker Is as Loud as a Rock Concert

With a power output of 4,500 watts and 108 decibels, the Phantom Gold wireless speaker can literally blow you away. Its creators at French audio company Devialet say that at max volume, the Phantom Gold is the equivalent of a live rock concert.

The Devialet Phantom Gold is latest and most powerful entry in the company’s Phantom series, a range of high-end portable speakers looking to replace a whole room’s worth of surround audio gear with something a lot more compact. It has been earning the praise of audiophiles around the world ever since it launched, on July 14, but with a price tag of $2,990, one has to wonder, what makes this gadget so darn special?

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Electronics Enthusiast Spends $53,000 Building a Supercomputer That Only Plays Tetris

Computer geeks spend ridiculous amounts of money on high-end rigs all the time, but one digital electronics engineer from Cambridge, England, poured a small fortune into building a giant computer that he only uses to play Tetris.

James Newman’s supercomputer took five years to build, cost over $53,000 and takes up an entire room, yet it is a million times slower and has a million times less memory than a typical desktop. That’s because it’s actually just a mega microprocessor. “Computers are quite opaque, looking at them it’s impossible to see how they work. What I would like to do is get inside and see what’s going on,” Newman explains on the Megaprocessor project website. “Trouble is we can’t shrink down small enough to walk inside a silicon chip. But we can go the other way; we can build the thing big enough that we can walk inside it. Not only that we can also put LEDs on everything so we can actually SEE the data moving and the logic happening.” And that’s exactly what he spent the last five decades doing. As of June 22, the Megaprocessor is finally complete.

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Who Needs Deodorant When You Have a Japanese Armpit Fan?

With summers getting hotter every year, keeping your armpits dry is quite the challenge. While many of use still rely on deodorants, the quirky Japanese have come up with a high-tech alternative worthy of their reputation for crazy inventions – clip-on armpit fans.

Developed by Japanese gadget maker Thanko, the Waki no Shita Kura (Japanese for Under the Armpit Cooling Device) is a small fan that clips to your sleeve to deliver cooling blasts of air to your armpits. The device is powered by three AAA batteries and can keep your armpits nice and dry for five to nine hours, depending on which of the three speeds you use. If you want to stay cool for longer you can connect the fan to your PC or a separately purchased battery pack with the included micro USB cable. Thanko claims the armpit fans are very light (30g/1 oz) and silent enough to use even in a crowded, so you shouldn’t have to worry about attracting unwanted attention with your buzzing armpits. The fan is also very small (60 x 65 x 15mm)  and thanks to the clip-on design it can also cool your chest area: just clip it to the front of your shirt and it will keep your torso and neck dry.

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English Company Creates World’s First TV Remote Control for Dogs

Dog owners feeling guilty for leaving their pets alone at home for too long will son be able to take comfort in the fact that at least the animals won’t be bored. They’ll be too busy changing TV channels and enjoying their favorite shows thanks to the world’s first dog-friendly remote control.

UK-based pet food brand Wagg apparently surveyed a number of pet owners and found that 91% of respondents said their canine friends regularly watch TV with them. Inspired by this interesting finding, the company teamed up with Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, an expert in animal computer interaction design at the University of Central Lancashire, to create the world’s first remote control for dogs. They came up with a prototype for the ingenious device which is currently in a trial and analysis period.

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Turkish Man Creates Glasses That Conceal Phone Screen from Anyone but the Wearer

Don’t you hate it when you’re using your smartphone on public transportation and notice strangers looking at it over your shoulder? Those people are the worst! But thanks to Celal Göger special glasses, you won’t have to deal with them ever again.

Göger, a 42-year-old mobile phone repairman from the Turkish town of Bismil, Diyarbakır province, has invented special glasses that interact with a smartphone’s screen so that only the wearer can see it. He said he came up with the idea for the glasses four months ago, when, while checking his emails on the local tram, he noticed people on the packed vehicle were staring at the screen of his phone. He realized it was a serious privacy issue that surely other people were facing on a daily basis. So he went back to his phone repair shop and started working on a solution.

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Coffee-Making Alarm Clock Aims to Make Waking Up Less of a Drag

Getting up early in the morning to the annoying sound of an alarm clock is one of those painful experiences many of us have to go through every single day, but perhaps throwing in the smell of freshly brewed coffee might improve things a bit. That’s what the makers of The Bariseur alarm clock are counting on, anyway.

The Bariseur is an automatic coffee maker and tea brewer that also doubles as an alarm clock that wakes you up to the sound of bubbling hot water and the smell of fresh coffee or loose leaf tea. Inventor Joshua Renouf says his ingenious creation “encourages a ritual in order to establish a routine before going to sleep, signalling to the body and mind that it is time to unwind and relax. The fresh coffee or tea is used as a natural aromatic relaxant throughout the night then stimulates the user in the morning once brewed.”

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